Nitric oxide (NO) and hydrogen sulfide (H2S) are important gaseous molecules, serving as important secondary messengers in plant response to various biotic and abiotic stresses. However, the interaction between NO and H2S in plant stress response was largely unclear. In this study, endogenous NO and H2S were evidently induced by cadmium stress treatment in bermudagrass, and exogenous applications of NO donor (sodium nitroprusside, SNP) or H2S donor (sodium hydrosulfide, NaHS) conferred improved cadmium stress tolerance. Additionally, SNP and NaHS treatments alleviated cadmium stress-triggered plant growth inhibition, cell damage and reactive oxygen species (ROS) burst, partly via modulating enzymatic and non-enzymatic antioxidants. Moreover, SNP and NaHS treatments also induced the productions of both NO and H2S in the presence of Cd. Interestingly, combined treatments with inhibitors and scavengers of NO and H2S under cadmium stress condition showed that NO signal could be blocked by both NO and H2S inhibitors and scavengers, while H2S signal was specifically blocked by H2S inhibitors and scavengers, indicating that NO-activated H2S was essential for cadmium stress response. Taken together, we assigned the protective roles of endogenous and exogenous NO and H2S in bermudagrass response to cadmium stress, and speculated that NO-activated H2S might be essential for cadmium stress response in bermudagrass. © 2013 Elsevier Masson SAS.
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